Information Technology key for Future of Real Estate Management

Introduction
It is now possible for someone working at their computer to tour a property and its surroundings neighborhood and/or we get approved for loan without using a real estate broker or banker directly. With this kind of service available on the information superhighway a commonly asked question has become , who needs real estate agents if any one can access property information online? A group clearly interested in the answer is the residential and commercial real estate brokerage industry. Indeed, the dramatic increase in technology in the last 15 years has been geometric in scope and real estate professionals who ignore these mega trends do so at their own peril.
Information Technology key for Future of Real Estate Management
In the highly competitive field of real estate management the use of computers is critical for meeting the necessity of increasing productivity while holding. A fully integrated, computerized system makes it easier to provide building owners with the information they need – in a fraction of the it used to take. Many residential management firms that don’t have in-house computer facilities are finding it difficult to retrieve such important data as maintenance bills and current rolls.
Using a computer also can prevent errors that may not have been caught otherwise. For instance, the system will not allow purchase orders to be entered if they exceed the budget available. In addition, separate security codes are needed to gain access to certain areas of computer system, such as accounts receivable and accounts payable. Another advantage of computers is their ability to cut down on paper flow. They allow property managers to eliminate processing and retrieval of mountains of paper, offering instead the option of storing files electronically.
In the real estate industry the innovations include the use of virtual tours of homes and neighborhood which may make absolete actual visits to properties, and online bidding or online transactions between sellers and buyers. The availability of additional information on a nationwide rather than just a local basis also has resulted in savings for consumers. To successfully manage the portfolio of properties, there is need for better access to information, and to able to use that information to support decision making. Information technology is changing every industry and real estate is certainly no exception. The real estate industry will continue to be oriented around people. Embracing new technology will simply allow the real estate professional to make better decisions based on accurate, real-time information whether that’s through the internet or a windows-based solution.
IT & Real Estate Management
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are reshaping many industries. Information intensive industries, by their nature, show the greatest impacts due to ICTs. Real Estate industry is information intensive and realtors are information intermediaries between buyers and sellers. As agents, buyers and sellers increase their use of ICTs, they change how they approach their daily work.
An important characteristic of the real estate industry is that to a large extent, the relationships between agents are codified in a system of standard contracts and legal responsibilities. These contracts name specific actors, objects and conditions, thus capturing s structure of signification, determine control of resources, thus codifying a structure of signification, determine control of resources, thus creating a structure of domination, and set out obligations and responsibilities, thus codifying a structure of legitimation. These documents in turn influence the actions taken by buyers, of resources and norms for action, laws and contracts must also begin to change.
The work processes of real estate agents have been and continue to be influenced and shaped by the use of ICT. Agents have rapidly embraced new technologies that give them an advantage, such as computer databases, geographical information systems (GIS), pagers, cellular phones, and most recently, e-mail and the World-Wide Web.
2.1 Steps in a real estate transaction process can be divided into five distinct stages, which we call listing, searching, evaluation, negotiation and execution. This general outline probably applies in other countries as well, although the details will differ. Of course, there are many possible variations in the process described above depending on the particulars of the market. For example, in a very tight market, buying might involve searching for information about houses about to be offered so as to get a bid in more quickly, while in a weak market, pricing and postponing might be revisited after sometime on the market.
The way IT can be used to disintermediate the traditional agent and broker is of focal interest here, as it potentially threatens the traditional relationship between agent and interest here, as it potentially threatens the traditional relationship between agent and home owner. Disintermediation is the elimination or displacement of market intermediaries-agents, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, warehousing operations, forwarders and Jobbers – who reduce the number of customer or suppliers with which a principal deals, thus avoiding information overload for the principal. Today, examples abound in which these mediating roles have been replaced or eliminated because information technology permits the principals to manage the relationship directly. More generally, they suggest that an evolution from single-source channels to electronic markets is already underway. Similarly, it is possible today to link seller and buyer if a house directly without intermediaries, as we will discuss in the following section.
2.2 Use of ICTs in the Real Estate Industry
in particular, the use of ICT changes the ability of actors to access information, which we have already identified as a key resource in Real Estate. Buyers can search the listings themselves and then come in with list of houses already picked out. Some realty organizations are advertising listings beyond individual agents own efforts. Contractual arrangements bring more of the commission to the organization when a potential buyer (or seller) cold-calls an agency. At the same time, tech-savvy agents are putting up their ownsites (and using these to add additional data, making their listings more attractive to buyers, and more of a value add for sellers). And, third parties are also getting involved with listings. Similarly, the use of the technology opens up new avenues for action that over time may come to be seen as legitimate. For example, as buyers begin to search for properties on the Web, it becomes more important to sellers to have their properties on the Web. Companies that cannot or who have difficulty providing this service may start to lose business.
2.3 Changes to the agents position as a market Intermediary
From a market/economic perspective, the growth in ICT use allows for the removal of information intermediaries. Buyers agents can provide resources from their social network, such as information about mortgage providers, house inspectors, workmen, etc. In this way, they provide a value-adding service to potential buyers. Real estate agents can also provide a value-adding service for both sellers and buyers – guiding them through the series of steps that are required to complete a transaction. That is, agents can use their transaction knowledge to provide service beyond simply matching buyers with sellers. This suggests that the whole real estate agents can now be thought of as having three distinct components. Firstly, they are information intermediaries between buyers and sellers. It is this traditional role that is most challenged by the growing uses of ICT and the rise of potential rival intermediaries.
The second component of a realtors work draws on large informal social networks to provide value-adding services to prospective buyers (and sellers). The large networks have a serendipitous affect of reinforcing the agents first role – listing properties to sell and finding buyers.
The third component of the real estate agents work is that of a process or transaction consultant. There is a limited network or stronger ties (comprised mainly of lawyers and title search agents) that help the agent in providing buyers and sellers with guidance while they prepare the property for sale (closing). The changes due to increasing use of ICT do title to effect the process support or the development of the agents social networks. Not only is the increasing use of ICT reducing their intermediary , the strength of their social network provides both value adding services and the source of new information (about potential listings and potential buyers). On the other hand, agents might act to regain their control over listings information. Web search agents might enable buyers to search across multiple agencies. Extensive ICT use, and specifically the use of web sites in the real estate industry, is also forcing agents to unbundle their previously packaged services, implying that each individual service can now be separately priced.
Increased use of Web-based systems to advertise listings can both help and hurt agents current roles. They help by extending the agents ability to market their listings. They also hurt because it reduces the agents control over information. Moreover, the increased uses of ICT also changes the agents roles and practices – they spend less time as a market intermediary and more time as a process supporter.
Software for Real Estate Management
A number of software providers are beginning to respond to owners demands and are developing new web-based systems that offer more extensive options that are designed to smoothly integrate with property management products. Business that can effectively benefits to the bottom line. A complete, integrated, web-based solution that supports ending to end automation of all critical business functions throughout the entire real estate cycle is the foundation for effective real estate management.
Corrigo Net
CorrigoNet from Corrigo Inc., Redwood City, Calif., focuses on providing mobile service solutions to managers of multi-unit properties. The system is designed to use the Web to enhance communication and data flow by connecting residents, maintenance technicians, vendors, and property management personnel and to distribute critical information between all parties in real-time. CorrigoNet is part of the class of enterprise applications that uses the Web and telephone and wireless technologies to help property managers improve the delivery of services. For example, a resident in a large REIT-owned apartment building can log onto the system over the internet to place the service request, request is then automatically routed to a field technician. The technician has no longer to pick up service requests at the rental office, but remains in the field and uses a wireless device to get the order. Since the system requires the resident to specifically delineate the problem, the technician has a better understanding of it and can arrive with the tools and parts necessary. The status of each request is constantly updated and can be accessed by the technician, the property manager, or the resident making the request. CorrigoNet also includes the link to the vendors that have been pre-selected by the property management company and allows the technician to call in a request for parts or technical assistance directly from the field. As an application service provider (ASP), the company leases the CorrigoNet service over the Web to property management companies. Services include integration, implementation, training application configuration and upgrades, and the necessary wireless devices. The service is provided in such a way that the property management company can minimize its up-front investment in hardware and does not have to worry about the constant changes in wireless technology. In addition, the information collected by the system gives management insight into what money and staff resources are being spent on maintenance, allowing them to make more informed decisions about allocations.
Javalon
Founded by AvalonBay Communities, Alexandria, VA, United Dominion Realty Trust, Richmond, VA, and Post Properties, Atlanta, GA, Realeum, Inc., also based in Alexandria, delivers a Web-based property management tool designed to help the multifamily housing industry optimize assets. The foundation product, formerly called Javalon, is based on the Internet and the strategy is to allow companies to run and manage properties and portfolios from one centralized location. Realeum Foundation 1.0 consists of Resident Services, Resident Billing and Accounts Receivable, and Configuration and Administration modules, along with a fully integrated reports and forms subsystem. The resident services module is designed to automate the prospecting, application, leasing, move-in, renewal, transfer, and move-out functions. Resident Billing and Accounts receivable provides integration with the leasing information established in the resident services module and allows for concessions, discounts, and charges to be entered against a resident lease. The configuration and Administration module provides the property manager with the ability to customize the system to match the company specific policies and standards, such as amenity types, unit types, fees, and marketing sources. Finally, reports and forms provide the ability to produce parameter-driven reports that can be used to analyze the data and eliminate inefficiencies. The foundation software is a management tool that provides information stored in a central database that includes everything from the prospect through lease in a centralized, consistent, and integrated process. Foundation is Web-based and browser enabled. The software is designed in an open architecture that allows integration through the internet between the property management company and other participants in the rental process, such as vendors. As a hosted ASP solution, Foundation is designed to help property managers focus on their core competencies of building and renting properties.
Living Nexus
The Living Nexus vertical platform is a database that uses the Internet, landlines, or wireless devices to deliver information to property managers. The system interfaces with legacy applications to allow property management companies to communicate and exchange data. The systems current three modules include property management, maintenance, and management /Financial reporting. The first module enables the site manager to input and manage all of the front front-end accounting functions needed to conduct daily transactions. Living Nexus uses the data already being used by the site manager and customizes a program that automates the process with the correct level of functionality. The maintenance module is designed to tie seamlessly to the purchasing process and to automate work orders that provide real-time updates that can be accessed remotely by wireless devices. The fully integrated reporting function draws all the information from the different modules and, through customised programming, delineates all the all of the data makers that the property management executives want to access. The system is customised to provide a broader depth of information that allows strategic decisions to be based on a variety of indicators. Living Nexus acts as an ASP to the property management company, or the customers can opt to host the system themselves. The platform is also expandable to include future advances in anew applications. Rather than providing a single software application, it provides a platform that allows the industry’s best in class software programs to integrate seamlessly.
3.4. ECS QUBE
Available on a wide range of leading database platforms, the ECS QUBE software has evolved over the years as a direct result of continual feedback from a customer base which encompasses every aspect of the property industry. the end product is software of incredible richness of functionality and capability. QUBE is the exciting , next generation software for property professionals, no matter how large – or small – your portfolio.
QUBE Property Management Software is a flexible property and portfolio management system designed to provide a complete solution for managing agents, occupiers, investors, Government bodies and block managers.
It features not only the standard property management data base and accounting functionality, but can also easily cater for client specific property information requirements.
Fully integrated accounting modules are available, such as General Ledger, Purchase Ledger, Invoice Registration and Order Processing, and a Host of Standard core reports supplemented by a powerful end user reporting tool are provided as standard.
The modular structure of the many supplementary features allows the selection of software to meet wide range of property management requirements that is scalable to suit both small and large organisations.
Estate Computer Systems (ECS) is a specialist in providing property management accounting solutions. Established since 1978 we have been a leader in harnessing the power of IT to bring business benefits to the property sector. With around 85 staff in three offices, ECS has become the UK’s leading supplier of property management solutions and is dedicated to providing flexible and efficient property software to the industry.





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